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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


INZUNZA C, Carla et al. Features of adolescents hospitalized for a suicide attempt in a general hospital. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2012, vol.140, n.6, pp.751-762. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Worldwide, suicide is the third cause of death among adolescents. Aim: To determine the socio-demographic context and clinical characteristics of children and adolescents hospitalized for suicidal behavior in a general hospital. Material and Methods: Between 2007 and 2009, we evaluated 47 patients with a mean age of 15.3 years (87% women) admitted for suicidal behavior at the Clinical Hospital of the Catholic University of Chile. Demographic data of the participants were registered. Clinical interviews were done by a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Results: Fifty seven percent of patients lived with both parents. Fifty one percent had previous suicide attempts and 68% had a previous psychiatric treatment. The main trigger was a conflict with parents in 66%. The psychiatric diagnoses were major depressive episode in 74.5% and pathological development of personality in 43%. All suicide attempts were with drugs and 6.4% were associated with cuts. Seventeen percent of attempts were classified as medically serious and they were more common in older age groups. Non severe attempts were observed mainly in women (92.3%). Acetaminophen intake was recorded in 8.5% of cases. Admission to hospital increased in the final quarter of the year. High costs of hospitalization were observed associated to stays in high complexity units. Conclusions: The population studied shows a high incidence of prior suicidal behavior. Most of the studied patients had attempts that were not classified as serious. These occurred predominantly in women in all age ranges. Medically serious suicidal behavior is mainly observed in older adolescents.

Keywords : Adolescent; Poisoning; Suicide, attempted.

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